20+ teams lead by National level instructors with Windows Phones
200 ski and snowboard instructors
30+ Nokia Lumia Windows Phones uploading real-time stats and photos
Nokia and Microsoft employees helping on-site and skiing
1,000,000 vertical ft tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app
Technology used: Windows Phone, Windows Azure, SkyDrive and Windows 8
Altitude: 8,000 – 11,000 ft
= TOTAL SUCCESS
Windows Phone taken to the extreme
What’s the best proof of technology? Taking it to the extreme! Last week more than 200 attendees of the National Academy of Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) have been skiing, riding, taking pictures, videos and played with the apps, like the Winter app, at 10,000 ft elevations in the mountains of Utah. Microsoft and Nokia helped in this event, providing phones, skiing with the teams and of course showcasing the app for Windows Phone. Result? Thousands of pictures, videos, lots of smiling faces and memories that last.
In the mountains of Utah…
All National team leads were given latest Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 Windows Phones, and they took them to the places, chutes, cornices, bowls and steep bumpy rides we could never think of. Together teams skied almost 1,000,000 ft vertical, tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app. The amount of April snowfall in Utah made every day the best day of skiing ever: with 5-8” of fresh snow falling almost every day, we also enjoyed days of sun and light, champagne powder.
National level ski and snowboard event
The National Academy is an annual event gathering professional ski and snowboard instructors of America (PSIA-AASI), an organization of more than 32,000 ski and snowboard instructors training students in every region of the US. During the Academy instructors learn from the top national instructors.
Microsoft and Nokia showing new technologies
Microsoft and Nokia representatives were very busy at the event, answering questions about Windows Phone, showcasing the app, making new friends and skiing! Some Microsoft employees skied for the first time, but after the event were ready to hit the slopes again!
Photo: Matt Rothschild, Nokia’s head in North America demonstrating Nokia devices. Nokia and Microsoft showcasing devices, skiing and answering questions
What we learned
We’ve heard many great comments about Windows Phone, its video stabilization capabilities that make devices especially useful in the mountains, when taking instructional videos. Many mentioned superior device and camera capabilities that Windows Phone has, and also the software: such as Winter app that makes skiing with friends fun and also helps ski instructors teaching students. Together with PSIA-AASI, we also had a feedback and planning session from 30 national team leads, suggesting ideas for the next generation of Winter software and what a ski instructor may need in the mountains. This brainstorming will take the app to the next level. By the next season we are planning to significantly extend the app to include more exciting features.
SkyDrive + Windows Phone + Large Events = Awesomeness!
Photo: Windows Phone SkyDrive settings
SkyDrive integration with Windows Phone provided seamless photo transfer from the mountain to the slideshows at night. Windows Phone 8 can seamlessly sync photos and videos with the SkyDrive, and with 30+ phones we managed that integration allowed us to instantly prepare slideshows at night, when the skiers came back from the mountain. To access this feature go to Photos –> SkyDrive Settings. We used PowerPoint to play the shows, but what we didn’t discover until the last night was the Windows 8 Photos app, which can also play the slide show!
Photo: Windows 8 Photos app, notice Slide Show button at the bottom
Photo: PSIA Alpine Team member David Oliver, wearing Winter app snow-bandana.
Peter Kray, the author of “American Snow” book reached more than 100K vertical, skiing with the Winter app and had a goal of beating top skiers on the leaderboard. Pete’s book is beautifully printed, with pictures from both the old and modern days of ski instruction in America. Passionate skier himself, Pete says in his book: “To teach someone how to ski or snowboard is like sharing superpowers – giving the gift of motion, freedom, and flight – it’s the sensation of flying, with the world spinning beneath your feet and wind whipping across your face”.
Custom made Winter skis made by Wagner Custom Skis to theme with the Winter app have proven to be a huge success: I skied them every day of the event, at various conditions: on groomers, steep, bumpy terrain and loved the way they feel. Winter app now includes a form where you can order skis made by Wagner with either Winter or any custom graphics. Skis are created personally for you to fit your skiing needs: Wagner makes any types of skis: from racing to big mountain skis. Born in the mountains of Colorado, in Telluride, these skis provided me with the best moments of my National Academy – at the end of the feedback session the skis were signed by national team leads – this will keep me motivated on working on the app in the summer. I hope to meet Pete Wagner personally to thank him for the joy of skiing his skis.
More about the event:
Many thanks to Mark Dorsey, William McSherry, Earl Saline, Matt Rothschild, Thierry Doyen, Olga Vigdorovich, Matt Thompson, Warren Wilbee, Nisha Baxi, Kenny Spade, Randy Guthrie, Ain Indermitte, Razvan Furca, Ben Adams, Max Felix, Mike Hafer, Nick Herrin, Lane Cleua, David Oliver, Rob Sogard, Michael Rogan, Robin Barnes, Bob Barnes, Scott Anfang, Matt Boyd, Jennifer Simpson, Jeb Boyd, Dave Lyon, Ryan Christofferson, Jonathan Ballou, Jim Schanzenbaker, Heidi Effenger, Chris Fellows, Eric Lipton, Andy Docken, Dave Lundberg, Kelly Coffey, Pete Kray, Susan Urbanczyk and many others who helped organizing this event.